Posts Tagged Reuben Cook

The Full Circle secures Ascom Network Testing for Windows Server 2008 R2 Early Adopter Program

The Full Circle ( has been working with Microsoft Virtualisation technologies since before they were Microsoft Virtualisation technologies… (think back to Virtual PC from Connectix ;-)).

More recently and formally, we have been working with Microsoft Hyper-V since the v1 Rapid Deployment Program (RDP) in spring 2008.  We attended various RDP Bootcamp training and used pre-release/beta versions of Hyper-V extensively to accelerate testing and migration for our Microsoft Windows Essential Business Server (EBS) Technology Adoption Program (TAP) customer, Newman Martin and Buchan – read more at

For Hyper-V v2 we are a UK Early Adopter Program (EAP) partner for Windows Server 2008 R2, with a focus on virtualisation, specifically Hyper-V with failover clustering.  We’ve been working with various builds and flavours of Hyper-V v2 including the command line only and free Hyper-V Server 2008 R2, and also the full GUI versions available in the full Windows Server 2008 R2 product.

For an EAP, or TAP for that matter, you need a customer who’s willing to participate in deploying and testing early release software (Beta’s and Release Candidate builds) in a production environment, and then talk about it through press releases, case studies, etc. also known in Microsoft speak as ‘customer evidence’.
The benefits are many!  Microsoft gets real world deployments of their new product ahead of general release which helps with convincing the wider market that the technology is dependable and fit to deploy.  The customer gets to the latest technology for their business ahead of their competition, and often assistance/support such as sponsored consulting, licenses, etc.  The partner (us) gets supported training, technical assistance, and exposure to new products ahead of our competition, plus, of course, exposure in the market through PR & various co-marketing activities.

Our EAP customer deployment was with Ascom Network Testing (formerly Argogroup –  Ascom Network Testing is part of the Mobile Test Solutions business of the Swiss company Ascom (, and is a global provider of mobile test & measurement solutions for some of the worlds largest mobile network operators (the likes of Verizon, T-Mobile, Orange, etc.). 
Specifically Ascom wanted to update and improve the backend server components of a product called Monitor Master.  Monitor Master is an end-to-end solution for measuring ‘User Experience’ and collates and presents measurement data from mobile services probes out in the field.  Monitor Master is a Business Intelligence (BI) platform with a data warehouse back-end running on Microsoft SQL Server.

The project was given the title ‘EPIC’ due to the scale of the larger deployments which can be several hundreds of Gigabytes of data.  The primary goals were to accelerate the quality and consistency of customer deployments of the Monitor Master server components.  This was achieved by defining and testing new reference architectures including O/S setup, database configuration, hardware platform architecture, and operational procedures to manage the environment.

Clearly Virtualisation can help accelerate almost any platform development project and due to the timings of the project, Windows Server 2008 R2 and Hyper-V v2 was an obvious choice.  Soon into the project we came to realise that due to the performance and other benefits of Hyper-V v2 it could actually form part of the solution, not just a tool to help develop it! 🙂

Our old mate, business associate & mentor (for all things PR & communications), John Dean (COO of helped us put together a short release that announced this exciting project, it went out to coincide with the global Windows Server 2008 R2 & Windows 7 launch events and is available online via PRWEB (, but also below for your enjoyment!:


The Full Circle Secures Client for Windows Server 2008 R2 EAP

Ascom Network Testing Enrolled as Early Adopter for Hyper-V Virtualisation

London, 15 October 2009 – The Full Circle, the Microsoft Gold Partner specialising in virtualisation and infrastructure deployments, announced today that it had secured Ascom Network Testing’s participation in the Windows Server 2008 R2 UK Early Adopter Program (EAP).

Ascom Network Testing is a global mobile data software systems provider. They offer test and measurement solutions to many of the world’s largest mobile network operators, including Verizon, Orange, and T-Mobile.

The EAP enables selected partners to take part in co-funded consulting engagements to drive product deployments prior to full launch. This gives partners and customers strategic advantage while enabling Microsoft to develop public references for their marketing efforts.

Reuben Cook, Founder, The Full Circle – “We are delighted that Ascom Network Testing will be part of the Windows Server 2008 R2 EAP. We are confident it will offer tremendous value as it will enable them to reap the benefits that the new technologies can deliver to the business well in advance of their competitors.  Windows Server 2008 R2 is planned for release October 22nd”

Kit Smithers, Chief Technical Officer, Ascom Network Testing Ltd – ”We immediately recognised the benefits of participating in the program. We have a particularly strong interest in the benefits of virtualisation and consolidation, and look forward to enjoying the performance and flexibility benefits that it will give us.”

Mike Peers, Channel Development Manager, Virtualisation, Microsoft – “The Full Circle have been an active partner on our Windows Server 2008 R2 Early Adoption Programme.  The programme is designed to help partners gain early experience deploying Hyper-V, whilst also benefitting customers in the early adoption of the technology.”

Cook concluded: “At first we saw Hyper-V as a component that could accelerate Ascom’s internal solution development process.  But it has quickly become apparent that Hyper-V could in itself become part of their client solution offering, due to the power, performance and stability it offers.  It has been a great success.”

Ends:  340 Words


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VMware Virtualisation Seminar – 12th November, Global Knowledge, London

Wednesday 12th November, 2008

As founder and CTO of a London based IT consultancy ‘Full Circle Technology Limited (aka The Full Circle – I often attend various trade shows and events, however these are often complimentary or supportive of our position as a Microsoft Gold partner.

Virtualisation has always been hot on our agenda, indeed it is in the business plan from when we launched our consulting business in 2003.  It has continued to be a growth technology we have implemented for several clients over the years using Microsoft Virtual Server, and more recently Hyper-V (

I’ve also been an early user of PC based virtualisation since 2001/2, where as CTO of a technology services company I’d insisted that our support & engineering team use virtual machines (VMware workstation at the time) for testing in relation to support & development (the main reason being to minimise the impact of breaking their production machines by ‘playing’ with flakey software! ;-))

Anyway, today I went along with a keen new associate of ours, Will Darbey, to an excellent seminar event hosted by a leading UK training organisation, Global Knowledge (
The seminar was exclusively about a technology that could be viewed as just ever so slightly competative to Microsoft in the virtualisation space… VMware (

It must be said, that if in the market for VMware training and certfication, then Global Knowledge is well worth a serious look in… (

A most excellent use for the corner of the BSG building (City Road, London)

The agenda for the day was split into two halfs:

AM Session: Business Briefing-Aimed at people who are considering virtualisation for their business and the benefits it can bring to an organisation.

  • 10:00 – 11:30 Management Briefing
    Introduction to VMware
  • Virtualisation the Datacentre Initiative
  • VMware Infrastructure
  • Virtualisation Benefits
  • Disaster Recovery
  • Green IT
  • Government Legislation
  • Virtual Desktop
  • VMware lower total cost of ownership
  • 11:30 – 12:00 Q & A
  • 12:00 – 13:00 Lunch

PM Session: Technical Briefing –The session is for technical people responsible for evaluating VMware ESX Server and VirtualCenter; including IT managers, system architects, and system administrators.

  • 14:00 – 15:30 Technical Briefing:
  • Reliable Foundation
  • The Hypervisor
  • Architecture
  • The Management
  • Create, Convert, Deploy, Patch, Protect, Deliver
  • Guided Consolidation, Upgrade Manager, SRM Shared Services
  • Resource allocation
  • Live Migration
  • High Availability
  • Resource distribution, Power management Integration
  • Hardware and Guest OS support
  • Conversion and Capacity Planning
  • 15:30 – 16:00 Q & A


  • David Day –David comes from a 10 year Cisco and Microsoft background, and currently manages the technical delivery program for VMware Authorised Training Centres. Originally from South Africa, David is now based in the UK, and has been with VMware for four years.
  • John Churchhouse –John leads the VMware Strategic Partners team which covers all OEM and System Integrator/System Outsourcer relationships in the UK and Ireland.  Prior to VMware, John worked for Sun Microsystems where he managed the System Integrator partner sales team.

As usual I made a few scribbles from the day…

“Virtualization will be the highest-impact trend changing infrastructure and operations through 2012, according to Gartner, Inc. Virtualization will transform how IT is managed, what is bought, how it is deployed, how companies plan and how they are charged. As a result, virtualization is creating a new wave of competition among infrastructure vendors that will result in considerable market disruption and consolidation over the next few years.”
– Gartner


The day was split into two parts, the morning session with John Churchhouse on the business angle, and the afternoon a technical deep dive and demonstration with David Day.

Morning session: John Churchhouse, Manager Strategic Partners, VMware

VMware by the numbers..

Founded 1998

2007 rev. $1.33B projected $1.8-1.9B

6100 employees (almost doubled since Jan, current hiring freeze)..

50% year on year growth for last 8 years, limited

120,000 customers, 87% deployed in production, 43% standardising on VMware Infrastructure (i.e. VMotion, HA, Backup, etc.)


3rd software company to maintain 50% revenue growth after reaching $1B (other two being Microsoft & Oracle)


reasons/uses for virtualisation (with VMware of course! ;-)) 


Server Consolidation & Containment – eliminate server sprawl by deploying systems into virtual machines…

Infrastructure Provisioning – reduce time to provision new infrastructure to minutes with sophisticated automation capabilities and standardised machine templates.

Business Continuity – reduce cost and complexity of BC by encapsulating entire systems into files that can be replicated and restored to any server

Test and Development– rapid provision and re-provision of test & dev environments; store libraries or pre-configured test machines

Enterprise Desktop / Virtual Desktop Infrastructure– secure unmanaged PCs. Alternatively, provide standardised enterprise desktop environments hosted on secure, reliable, centrally managed servers.

Legacy Application re-hosting – migrate legacy O/S & apps to virtual machines running on faster and newer hardware for better/improved reliability.


TCO on server consolidation typically 6 months… ?!?


Greenness– Qualcomm – reduced 900+ servers, 11.2 tonnes of CO2 per server saved!


ESXi / VMware Virtualisation Layer – 32MB, free download – smaller, tighter, less to go wrong!

Can be specified and shipped pre-installed with servers from HP & Dell..


Trigger points for VDI… hmmm I missed that one…


2008: the year of automation!

Automation = Business Agility

Automate IT processes (Lifecycle management from machine birth through death/retirement)

Create resource pools

Capacity on-demand


Disaster Recovery

DR in the virtual world is orders of magnitude simpler in the virtual world.. e.g. hardware and firmware levels can be different across DR sites as the virtual layer is consistent

Turn manual recovery run books into automated


Test & Development

Developer productivity – >75% reduction in server to staff ratio, 10x reduction in system config time, 20% acceleration in system development lifecycle time


A UK ‘small’ business example..

BT consolidated 1503 servers, est 375 racks of x86 ay 5 sites replaced with 30 at 3 sites

4509 network ports down to 168!

Afternoon session: David Day, Technical Services Director, VMware
David’s session was a fast paced, technical deep dive into various aspects of VMware virtualisation, including some complimentary technologies.  He also ran through some demonstrations including an unplanned, unrehearsed demo (always a brave thing to do) – everything worked like a dream! (its good stuff this VMware ;-).

I’d love to give more detail other than David clearly knows his stuff and then some!, however and unfortuantely I was against the clock getting our EBS 2008 PR submitted – had to be out of the door for a 16:00 release… see

Will & I did, however, have a chance to look somewhat confused with VMware… (before the event of course!! ;-)).

 vmware-will  vmware-reub2



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